That is all.
Well, beloved readers, it's almost time to put PARIS to bed, but before the cocoa and slippers we'd like to share a few aerial photos from our audacious, and ultimately triumphant, space plane project. Those of you who've been following from the start (and if you haven't, check previous PARIS posts for details) will recall …
Just superb. A bunch of tech journos and backroom geeks put a paper aeroplane into space. That's an outstanding achievement, and all the better for being almost entirely pointless; it's great to do something this significant just for the fun of it.
For further reading into the field of boffinry and half-arsed over-achievement, take a gander at "Backroom Boys: The Secret Return of the British Boffin" by Francis Spufford.
"When space shuttle Discovery lifts off on its final mission, it will have a small LEGO version of itself onboard to help launch a new partnership between the Denmark-based toy company and NASA."
The launch has been delayed to at least Monday, due to a hydrogen leak in ground equipment.
What can I say? I've been following this project from its inception, and it's just been fantastical fun. Congratulations all around to Lester and the PARIS crew for such an amazingly accomplished, yet inspiringly pointless, endeavor!
I can't wait for PARIS II, A.K.A. LOHAN.
Cheers, from the backwaters of America!
Am I correct in thinking the wing puncture is already evident in this pic? If so could it not have been created by some passing space dust/micrometeorite during the final part of the ascent?
Re: the published comment on p10 - I couldn't have put it better in a million years. Legendary achievement guys.
And, in the internet vernacular, to the sour-grapes detractors: lol why u mad tho?
Yes, that looks like the wing damage. And judging from its shape (detailed pic in the landing/recovery story), with two more or less straight edges at right angles, I'd say the wing hit one of the corners of the payload box. Supporting evidence is that it's the port wing, which can be seen tilting up on the release video.
..but Bravo Zulu to all concerned. You have not only succeded in putting a gloriously pointless paper aircraft into space and retrieving fantastic pics, but making many of us in not quite so fun employment smile on an otherwise cheerless day.
Now how to incorporate the plasma drive and obtain more fizzypop funded high-jinks?
Absolutely stunning project, gents, congrats congrats congrats. Now that you've done an airplane from space, naturally it is time to move on to a UFO. Seriously. Your next project is obviously LOHAN - Lithium Overhead Haze At Night. A few links to get you started...
Obviously your next balloon can only get to a tenth of the altitude of these sounding rockets, but if you time the flight to sunset when the ground is dark and the sun is still above the horizon as seen from the balloon, who knows....you might have quite a show from the ground...
In any event, jolly good show on PARIS!
Huh - the more I research LOHAN (Lithium Overhead Haze At Night), the less nutty it sounds. If you dump a lithium aerosol into the atmosphere at too low an altitude, there will be so much air between the sun and the lithium atoms that the ionization rate (and thus the pretty red glow) would be pretty small. That's why these experiments are done with sounding rockets above just about all of the air, so the lithium atoms get a blast of pure, undiluted sunshine.
The Russians have this all figured out, see Section 2.3.2 on page 178 of this Googlebook version of "Airglow as an Indicator of Upper Atmospheric Structure and Dynamics" By Vladislav Yu Khomich, Anatoly I. Semenov, Nicolay N. Shefov:
However, by an interesting coincidence lithium aerosols are ionized at exactly the wavelength of red laser diode chips (at least some of the earlier types of laser diode chips) at exactly 670 nm. See Table 2-20 in the book above and also Sam's Laser FAQ:
This implies that you could come up with a lithium fog machine that has battery-powered red laser diodes in the outlet nozzle and if everything is sized right you could achieve near 100% ionization of the ejected fog via the laser beam. Basically you could skywrite with a glowing red gas visible for tens to hundreds of miles.
Maybe worth a test or two with a lithium smoke grenade and a high powered laser diode in a low pressure chamber. Everybody has all of that kit laying around in their kitchen, no?
...but the thing that jumps out for me are the space pics. The individuals involved - and Lester perhaps more than anyone - will have a merry /hell/ of a thing to tell their grandchildren. "Kids, I once built a paper airplane that flew high enough to /prove the curvature of the earth./"
Think about this. A few hundred years ago, we would have either had use complex mathematics or actually physically sailed around the world to prove it was round. Now a couple of journalists with the dedication to see a hobby through can build a device capable of proving it with pictures from 17 miles up. I think it's awesome. It’s a beautiful reminder that most of the crap we worry ourselves about every day really isn’t as insurmountable as it appears.
“Here is what people can do – for real and with few resources – if they put their mind to it. Here is what a few months of a hobby can accomplish!” It is a reminder of what human beings are capable of. As per the title, I can’t speak for anyone else…
…but it has been an honest inspiration to me.
If you spend enough time on the internet you are often surrounded by people who seem to believe that computers and related technologies are the only things in the world that matter. It’s easy to believe that being a tinkerer and putterer of all things – computers and otherwise – will never amount to anything. Way to prove that concept very wrong!
Thanks for the excellent journey, PARIS team. Looking forward to LOHAN with much anticipation!
The brave toy who mounted PARIS and took her to heaven and back hasn't yet been seen in public. Surely there's a juicy kiss and tell story to be told?
More seriously, if you're not appallingly attached to the little piece of plastic - how about running a fund-raising competition - say a tenner a ticket - to win the pilot. All money to the charity (preferably registered) of your choice or to the LOHAN construction project.
Firstly, mucho congrats and hugs for all involved.
For your next mission how about HERB PARIS?
Help Eject Richard Branson Permanently Aboard Rocket Into Space
It just needs to go up and stay up :)
Herb Paris: "European herb with yellow-green flowers resembling and closely related to the trilliums; reputed to be poisonous"
I can only join in the congratulations on a magnificent effort. Did anyone else notice something missing? Where was the red/gold glow of all these Co2 molecules that are supposed to be up there heating up the earth? The camera shots were great ...but no glow.
This was not altogether surprising as a balloon camera expert got none either recently, although many of the shots should have shewn them up.
Cant wait for the next expedition.
Sorry to be such a killjoy, but 17 miles up is not really "space" is it? More like the stratosphere. Noctilucent clouds are found up to 50 miles I believe. Are they in space? And how would a helium balloon get above the atmosphere anyway? One compensation is that both "space" and "stratophere" begin with "S" so a more accurate description of the project could still use the PARIS acronym.
Bah humbug! Bob.
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